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The Jerry Garcia Sound 
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Crystal Lettucer
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So, I've been kind of interested in the Grateful Dead for the last few years. I haven't bought any records. I haven't really tried to learn much in the way of playing like Jerry. I have simply been slightly interested.

Fast forward to vacation a few weeks ago. We had a free satellite radio trial, and the Grateful Dead channel seemed to be the best compromise for me, the wife, and the babies. They also play a lot of "music" on that channel. Not a lot of garbage. It was great.

So, I really have taken a liking to Jerry's sound and style. I wondered what his secret was.

Main ingredient: It's the speakers. He used JBL E120's, I think. You can hear that snap of speakers with HUGE magnets. So, I have a bunch of different EV's, and guess what? They have that snappy tone. Especially if you use an overdrive in the MXR Dist+ family. I was thinking it was the pickups or the amp. I'm not so sure it matters very much as long as you play a Dist+/Dod 250/etc through big magnet speakers.

That said, I have a pair of Dimarzio Super 2's on the way just to make sure. :lol:

I also happen to have a GT Trio preamp like he was using at the end.

I was just jamming in the office to Touch of Grey with a Spiral Yellow Drive and my Keeley 30ms into my Dr. Z with an EV Force 12, and it sounded identical, even though I was using a poplar tele with a WRHB in the neck. That said, I have some guitars in mind that will get even closer. My maple Gutierrez could do it, as could my semi hollow campbell.

I'm just thinking out loud and rambling.

Do you like Jerry's tone? Do you even like the Grateful Dead?

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Fri Jun 14, 2019 8:05 am
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Chief Executive Owl
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I like the Dead - for about 10 minutes at a time. More than that, it makes me want to go look for baby seals to club.
Garcia's tone is cool though. I don't know if it is a tone I'd spend time chasing but I like it.

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Fri Jun 14, 2019 8:12 am
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I love watching my kids dance to the dead.


Fri Jun 14, 2019 8:20 am
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Crystal Lettucer
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GuitarBilly wrote:
I like the Dead - for about 10 minutes at a time. More than that, it makes me want to go look for baby seals to club.
Garcia's tone is cool though. I don't know if it is a tone I'd spend time chasing but I like it.


I guess it's just one of the few Yang things in my musical life I can tolerate to contrast with my constant downer yin shit.

I like the vibe of the sound. It reminds me of drinking outside during the summer when the weather is nice.

You always have nice weather, so it probably doesn't have as much meaning to you. :lol:

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Fri Jun 14, 2019 8:21 am
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it is a great clean tone.

I was going to say that most of his career was running a pair of Twin Reverbs as preamps, into Macintosh tube power amplifiers into those JBL speakers.
Like this:
Image

but after doing a little more reading - he used a WIDE variety of stuff throughout his career
Lots of good stuff HERE

including a pic of the GT Trio set up
Image


Fri Jun 14, 2019 8:27 am
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Check out this company, Phred guitars. They're making replicas of Garcia's guitar and seem to get good reviews... they also have a lot of custom options

https://shop.phredinstruments.com/deadbolt

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Fri Jun 14, 2019 8:32 am
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Crystal Lettucer
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I like how he gets that cleandirty kind of sound that’s not really either. Very cool.

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Fri Jun 14, 2019 9:38 am
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The FX
MXR Analog Delay
MXR Phase 100
Mutron lll Envelope Filter
Mutron Octave Divider and then Boss OC-2 octave divider

A lot of his recorded tones prior to 1974 were with a swamp ash strat.

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Fri Jun 14, 2019 9:46 am
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Crystal Lettucer
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Didn't he have an Alembic Stratoblaster boost built in to some of his guitars?

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Fri Jun 14, 2019 9:54 am
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Crystal Lettucer
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Devin wrote:
Didn't he have an Alembic Stratoblaster boost built in to some of his guitars?


Yeah, but it was strictly used as a buffer. (unity gain)

FWIW, his wiring seems really weird, but the only thing that "affected" his sound were a pair of coil tap switches. The rest was there to control his pedalboard, and to provide a post fx volume control..

If you're not trying to completely copy his setup wire for wire, you're fine with
Dimarzio super 2
Dimarzio super 2
Dimarzio SDS-1
coil taps for super 2's
independent tone control for middle super 2.
Buffer at beginning of pedalboard
volume pedal at end of pedal board

I always figured he had like series/parallel and phase switches. Nope. Nothing that weird, which shocks me.

FWIW, I'm seriously considering building a WGD Warmoth to my specs, after I had sworn off building any more guitars.

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Fri Jun 14, 2019 9:59 am
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As far as the speakers go, I've got a pair of k120s and have put them back to back with EVs. The JBLs are definately brighter with that damned aluminium cap. Good drivers just bright.


Fri Jun 14, 2019 11:39 am
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Big Dead fan here, and I love Jerry's playing more than his tone - especially during certain time periods, but I won't bore you with that. :lol:

Lots of good info above, and like all of us guitarists, Jerry's equipment certainly changed and evolved over their 30+ year run. I think the things that are sorta "signature" for his rigs were the on-board effects loop in the guitar, the mutron envelope filter, and big-wattage powerful clean amps running into stiff snappy speakers. Knowing how to noodle thru major scales is way more important for capturing Jerry, imho.

Regarding the Phred guitars - I have one of their Languedoc (Trey Anastasio) copies. Paying $500 instead of $10K was well worth it for me to be able to cop some Trey sounds when I feel like it - when paired with a Ross Comp and a pair of tubescreamers, it's damn close to Trey tone. I'd put the guitar's quality on par with a Chibson or maybe an Epiphone. Looks amazing from a couple feet away, but its a bit sloppy up close, it feels like a low budget import. Electronics are typical import stuff, but the Altec pickups are surprisingly good. My tailpiece has snapped off twice, really a poor design, with lots of stress / string tension puling sideways on a 35 cent piece of pot metal. Phred was kind enough to send me a free replacement the first time, but it snapped a few months later, so I sourced my own the second time around, it's holding up for now. I had planned to eventually get either the Wolf or Tiger clones, but the issues with the Trey guitar turned me off. At this point, I'd just save up for a Travis Bean if I went full Jerry rabbit hole... :lol:

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Fri Jun 14, 2019 12:23 pm
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In the mid 90 I was into Garcias tone and style. I still hear his influence on my licks.
When 311 released Grassroots in 94, I could hear that Tim was influenced by Garcia as well and sure enough he cites him as one of his favorite guitarists.


Fri Jun 14, 2019 1:22 pm
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hard no.


Fri Jun 14, 2019 1:46 pm
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Crystal Lettucer
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Dammit. This is keeping me up at night.

I’m helplessly inspired by Jerry’s egomaniac douche persona. It’s making me want to build a warmoth wgd. I already bought the pickups. I’m thinking it should have a bigsby though, since that’s MY thing, and I’m something of an egomaniac douche myself.

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Tue Jun 18, 2019 1:35 am
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Crystal Lettucer
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I never broke it down any further than the autofilter , just autowah and you are there . ymmv

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Tue Jun 18, 2019 6:06 am
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Crystal Lettucer
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fretless wrote:
I never broke it down any further than the autofilter , just autowah and you are there . ymmv


I don't even really think of the autowah stuff. But, I have a TWA auto wah. Just might have to hook that shit up.

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Tue Jun 18, 2019 6:48 am
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